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Social Presentations - Engaging Students Through Technology

Social presentations are a relatively new concept as it combines the traditional approach of presentations and adds interactivity between students and teachers with formative assessments.

Available for iPads, Android Tablets, PCs, and almost any internet enabled device

One of the biggest benefits to technology in the classroom is making assessment data and student information almost instant. A lot of teachers I know love self checked quizzes and using other forms of assessment that instantly let the teacher know where, academically, students are at in relation to an objective or a standard. More and more, teaching practices are being improved with this data acquired through formative assessment.

Unlike summative assessments, these tools allow teachers to change the lesson based on the needs of their students. Formative assessment is by no means a new idea, but with technology, the process is significantly faster.

NearPod is a tool that allows the teacher to embed formative assessments throughout student instruction. Tools that can assess students are; Draw It, Unlike other presentation tools such as PowerPoint and Google Slides, NearPod follows a less linear format. The teacher can choose which slides to show and which slides you can skip or wait to show based on the assessment data.

Another very useful general feature of NearPod is the ability to select student paced or instructor paced. You can allow students to navigate through the presentation on their own, which would allow for differentiated instruction.


Web Content

Although this content is not available in the free version, for a price, links to webpages or web activities can be added to the presentation. This tool is very useful if the students are allowed to work at their own pace. Additional resources or for further information materials can be added this way. I will note that YouTube videos can be embedded directly into the presentation, so no need to put links to videos.


These features could be more accurately named assessments. Open ended questions, polls, and quizzes can be delivered through these activities. As students answer questions, the results are instantly pushed to the teacher on a question-by-question basis. As a teacher, I can see who finished the quiz in 30 seconds and who is still stuck on question 1. When all the results are in, I can share the results with the students. Students are shown a pie graph of their results, including a grade and percentage. Students are also shown a question by question breakdown of their answers.

Draw It

One tool I love to use for pre-assessment or formative assessment is Draw It. Students can be given a blank canvas and, and the name suggests, draw what they learned or what they know. Drawings are submitted to the teacher and may be shared with the entire class, anonymously. In my classroom, students almost always would take credit for their work on their own.

An example of questions I have used in the past is, "Draw me a picture of what a Native American looks like." The point of the question is to point out what is a stereotype and what is factual. Another example I have used is putting the day's topic in a mind map, draw at least 3 bubbles of what you learned about today's topic.

There are many other uses and features for NearPod not covered in my overview, however you can play around with the tool and see how it would fit in your classroom instruction.

Here is a quick intro and tour of NearPod.


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